Find Events Find Events
Choose date range
Free events
Select Series
Select a Genre(s)
Filters
Search by Keyword
Filters
Select Series
Select a Genre(s)
Free events

Author: Jill Kimball

Eklund Opera season closes with ‘de-lovely’ Cole Porter celebration

“Red Hot and Cole” is a swellegant party, and everyone’s invited

CU Boulder’s 2016-17 Eklund Opera season concludes with “Red Hot and Cole,” a celebration of the great American songwriter who brought us “Anything Goes,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and dozens of other classic hits. The two-act theatrical party runs April 27-30 in the Music Theatre.

“Red Hot and Cole” spans the life of Cole Porter, the talented and irrepressible wit who wrote impossibly hummable melodies and funny, memorable lyrics we still hear and perform today. While the show follows Porter from his humble beginnings in Indiana to the grand world stages of New York, London, Paris and Venice, the production’s setting never strays far from Porter’s intimate Art Deco living room.

“We’re basically inviting the world to Cole Porter’s party,” says Bud Coleman, who directs the production and teaches theatre at CU. “We’ll hear a lot of Cole Porter’s music; we’ll get to meet him, his friends and his wife, Ethel Merman; and we’ll hear stories about their escapades together.”

Coleman says the show is heaven for anyone who’s nostalgic for Old Hollywood or 1930s glamor. The look of the show was heavily inspired by the decor and history of Rockefeller Center’s famous Rainbow Room, a regular haunt for Porter and his friends. Sets and costumes will double down on the rich colors, bold geometry and decadent details of the Jazz Age.

“It was a gorgeous period for both men’s and women’s fashion,” Coleman says. “People looked really good.”

That period sounded as good as it looked, too, thanks in large part to Porter. In an age where so many songwriters worked in teams—one composing the music, the other writing the lyrics—Porter was an unusual one-man double threat … and one whose career lasted an astonishing 50 years.

“His first show was in 1915, and his last was in 1958,” says Coleman. “Tastes change, language changes, and so most lyricists are lucky to last 20 years in show business. For someone to continue writing for almost 50 years and remain hip, interesting and informative is amazing.”

The secret to Porter’s decades-long pop culture relevance was his way with words. He didn’t aspire to elegant poetry or erudite language; instead, he took a page from Irving Berlin’s book, working in slang he overheard on the New York streets and capturing the cadences of everyday conversation.

“When people heard Cole Porter’s lyrics, they sounded so familiar that people mistook the songs for something they already knew,” Coleman says. “He snuck so easily into the American conscience and later into the American songbook.”

What Porter is perhaps best known for, though, isn’t the slang he repurposed for songs but the slang he created himself. Whenever the songwriter couldn’t find an existing word that conveyed what he felt, he’d just make one up—and it was always “de-lovely.”

“There’s this effervescent joy of life in so much of his music, but also a lot of real emotion that’s not all champagne and bubbles,” Coleman says. “After all, if it were entirely silly, it would be gone.”

Upcoming Eklund Opera Events View all events

Ariodante

Loading
Apr 26-29, 2018

Ariodante

An opera by George Frideric Handel
Starting at $20

The king’s daughter is happily betrothed to a prince—until another man forges a plan to tear them apart for his own benefit. Handel’...

CU New Opera Workshop

Loading
Jun 15-17, 2018

CU New Opera Workshop

"If I Were You" by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer
Free and open to the public

The celebrated American opera team of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer ("It's A Wonderful Life," "Moby-Dick," "Three Decembers") return...

CU New Opera Workshop

Loading
Jun 16, 2018

CU New Opera Workshop

Composer Fellows' Initiative
Free and open to the public

Join us for the world premieres of four brand-new opera works by CU composition students, presented in the experimental and intimate ATLAS Black Box T...

Latest Eklund Opera News View all news items

Apr 9, 2018

CU Boulder’s Eklund Opera Program…

Ariodante is a Baroque-era tale of obsession and betrayal told through feminist…

Apr 3, 2018

CU Presents announces 2018-2019 season

CU Presents is proud to present another specially curated lineup of music,…

Feb 27, 2018

CU Boulder’s Eklund Opera Program…

When Caleb Harris was asked to conduct Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” in…